Depth of Bedding Over Stall Mats
We are getting ready to finish the flooring in our stalls (yay!). Instead of just a dirt floor, we plan to use 4 inches of a fine gravel topped with the heavy duty 6X4 rubber stall mats from TSC.
Just curious- When using shavings, how thick should it be over rubber mats? We have three Quarter Horses. I have heard that rubber mats significantly lower bedding costs.
Thanks a bunch! :wink:
Good question. I've been stalling on 1/2"-3/4" rubber mats for about 10 years now over a cement floor. I used to use a lot more bedding. But I discovered that the stalls stay dryer using less. Now, I use 2 bags of Equine Fresh (pine pellets) where my horses urinate, and one 40 lb(?)--the large one--bag of shavings. I clean the poo and when the Equine Fresh has soaked up the urine TWICE, I remove and replace that DAILY. 2 bags of EF and one of shavings generally lasts for a full week in a 12 x 12 stall. ALL horses are different but they DO think about where the urinate and defecate. My 5yo KMHSA gelding poos on the east and south walls of his stall, and urinates towards the SW corner. His stall's gate is NE. My mare urinates and defecates in the SW corner ONLY of her stall. She REALLY likes to keep it clean. My 5yo QH (Who, unfortunately is spending another winter in his tiny 16 x 19 shelter off of the barn defecates on the west side and next to my new manger on the NW wall, and urinates dead center.
Also, I pile the pellets and the shavings in one spot for the one gelding and my mare, but my QH needs me to spread it out bc he doesn't move around that much.
We live in a damp climate where there is more mud and snow and water in the winter than dry, so keeping the floor AND MY HORSE'S HOOVES dry is very important to me. I want them healthy. Dry is better for hooves than wet in any form. No matter how clean you keep your turnout there is still bacteria that likes it wet and can attack the white linte. Hope this helps!
Thanks! That was a great answer... With lots of excellent info. Now that I think about it, my mare tends to use the SW corner of her stall. I had always just thought of it as "that spot." :wink: She is pretty tidy as long as it is raked out twice a day. Right now we purchase bags of pine shavings in bulk from TSC. It is kind of pricey, but near our farm and convenient. I have never used the pellets. How are they in terms of absorbency and support? I wonder if we should look in to trying them as well?
I am totaly sold on the pellets. Firstly, they are 100% pine, so they are safe if your horse nibbles on them. Secondly, unlike shavings or straw or corn cob bedding (WHICH STINKS WHEN WET!!) they keep the stall smelling like pine until they are spent, and even then, when I remove it, there is very little odor and no ammonia fumes from the urine. Thirdly, I'm also a gardener, and they break down well for composting. I have found it takes up to 5 years for pine shavings to naturally break down in a manure pile that is not turned--like we have time to do THAT!!! lol
I'm glad that you liked my advice, but I think it's always a good thing to experiment on your own and discover how you like to do it. The EF packages suggest using 8/stall, but I disagree.
We had a thread recently about shavings vs. straw, and it made some good points. If I had a sick horse I would DEFINITELY put down a bale of straw for him for extra comfort. =D
I have definitely noticed that the shavings take forever to break down! Recently I have been much more picky about what I spread in our unused fields. I try to just pick out manure to spread, and place the shavings in a muck pile. Otherwise our fields end up with zig zag patterns of shavings! haha... I may just pick up a bag or two of the pellets to play with and see how it goes. :P
We have 3/4" stall mats over fine gravel in our stalls. If they are stripped clean and the weather is nice enough for the horses to stay out pretty much 24/7, I re-bed with 2 bags of pine sawdust. It gives them some cushion and is easy to pick through.
During the winter, I'll re-bed with 3 bags per stall because they spend more time in due to bitter cold/rain/snow. That way they have plenty of bedding to lay down in.
I do have one stall walker... she gets 2 bags regardless, even in the winter, because the amount of bedding she wastes by grinding everything together is astonishing sometimes. Seems like her stall is always being stripped...
i barely use shavings. I just sprinkle the shavings over the stall, so that if the horse pees it will absorb the pee. The stall mats are supposed to be the real "bedding"
we are lucky and are in a part of the country that we can use corn cob bedding. the stuff is awesome. i use three bags and it lasts the average horse in our barn two weeks.
Do you use those pine pellet in the trailer as well?
Jumper, I wish that were the case for my horse. He gets bedsores if there isn't enough bedding on top of the mats. :/
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